2006-present 2005-2001 1994-2000 1991-1993 1984-1990 works on paper artist's statement contact/links shows

 

Ah, not to be cut off,
not through the slightest partition
shut out from the law of the stars.
The inner-what is it?
if not intensified sky,
hurled through with birds and deep
with the winds of homecoming.

Rainer Maria Rilke

I wanna go out in the countryside
Oh sit by the clear, cool, crystal water
Get my spirit, way back to the feeling
Deep in my soul

Van Morrison

Our lives have become increasingly removed from nature. Wilderness has been reduced to isolated refuges. As new development and building spread, there are fewer wild areas. Yet, each year people flock to these refuges, these parks, to admire and connect with nature. As we speed onward with progress, there is an intellectual and emotional longing for the natural world. Today is different from America in the 19th century. Civilization was moving west and progress represented promise. At that time there began a style of landscape painting sometimes referred to as "The Hudson River School". This was a peculiarly American style of landscape painting influenced by this country's large tracts of wilderness. Progress is documented in these paintings. Wilderness is depicted in the foreground of some of these works. As one's eye moves to the background, one witnesses stages of man's progress that culminates with a town or city. The artists expressed reverence for the landscape and sorrow about the vanishing wilderness. They lamented the loss of the native peoples and their lands. The devotional quality to many of these paintings suggests that nature and God were one.

I feel a link to America's early landscape painters. Whereas they document the progress of civilization with its attendant loss of the wild and unknown, I want to reclaim the wilderness. We can no longer experience unknown wild areas. We can visit designated wild areas, parks. We have become removed from nature, both physically and intellectually. Yet I believe a connection to nature is needed. It seems ingrained in our psyche.

I paint refuges, places to go to for solace. I want my paintings to be destinations of quiet and calm. However, this world is fragile. The elements in the foregrounds of my paintings are items carefully constructed, either by humans or animals. Yet, they are objects easily broken or destroyed. Birds represent messengers from the wild. They embody beauty and fragility. They are visitors that remind us of lands beyond, wilderness. The distant landscapes in my paintings are remembrances of the natural past, vaguely familiar and pleasing.

The natural world seems essential to me but I am puzzled by how one can integrate it into our urban lives. Although, we are neither able nor willing to return to an Arcadian state, we still need to have a relationship with nature. I want to add a sense of balance, order and beauty to a world that is weighted in the opposite.

David Kroll 2001